Mentoring and the impact of the research climate

Science and Engineering Ethics 7 (4):525-537 (2001)


In this article, we focus on the mentoring process, and we argue that the internal and external pressures extant at research universities may create a research culture that may be antithetical to appropriate mentoring. We developed a scale based on motivation theory to determine the perceived research culture in departments and research laboratories, and a mentoring scale to determine approaches to mentoring graduate students. Participants were 610 faculty members across 49 departments at a research oriented university. The findings were that a mastery-oriented research climate and an outcome-oriented research climate were manifested at the university. More importantly, each research climate had its own unique impact on how the faculty approached mentoring graduate students. A mastery research climate was related to a more supportive approach to mentoring than the outcome research climate. We concluded by suggesting that the outcome research climate may have an adverse effect on effective mentoring and on maintaining research ethics.

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